There are a couple factors that determine gender identity; like genetic factors, environmental situations, psychosocial factors, and even sexual hormones. “Gender identity is almost always consistent with chromosomal sex. ” (Rathus, S. A. , Nevid, J. S. , and Fichner-Rathus, L. 2005). From the moment sperm fertilized an ovum, our destiny to be a girl or a boy is chosen. Usually at this point; 23 chromosomes from the male donor and 23 from the female come together and combine to make a “zygote”.
Starting about six weeks into the pregnancy, our bodies began to form and create into what they are meant to be, and after the seventh week, our genetic code (XY or XX) begins to really assert itself. Gender identity is not always a term referring to a person’s anatomic sex, “sex assignment” is now the correct term to ask a person their anatomic sex that occurred at birth. It is said that by 36 months old, most children are said to have a firm sense of their gender identity.
Our genes play an important role in determining our gender identity. The SRY gene (which is the gene that determines the Y male gene) will bind to DNA and distort, and alter it, creating the testes. The gene called Sox 9 is the gene that regulates the expression of SRY. If Sox 9 did not get to regulate the SRY gene; it would turn into a male fetus. We without help from the SRY gene, female reproductive organs would form instead of male organs. Recent research suggests that as many as one in every hundred individuals may have some intersex characteristics. ” (Domurat, 1998).
Some people do not believe that their gender identity corresponds with their biological sex (mainly transgender people, but also including; transsexuals and inter-sexed individuals as well. ) Difficulties can begin because society maintains that a person must accept a manner of social gender roles, which is based on their sex, and the person may feel that it is not consistent with their gender identity.
This is known as “gender identity disorder”, and by definition means that the individual is uncomfortable with their anatomic gender, and presents themselves or act like a member of the opposite sex. Masculinity and femininity are terms that we hear every day in our lives. For example, we hear that Shawn is so secure in his masculinity that he is comfortable being a house-husband or that Wendy’s mastectomy is threatening her sense of femininity. Even though most people think of masculinity and femininity on opposite ends of one continuum, it does not make it true.
Just because an individual may possess some traits of both categories does not make them too masculine or feminine. Where a person should be placed on the masculinity and femininity continuum, all depends on the degree to which the show or report specific gender-linked qualities, and behaviors. The midpoint on this hypothetical continuum is known as the zero point, and if a person has failed to develop gender-role identification, or they have transcended it, then they would be placed at this point of the line.
Those who show strong sex-role identifications would go at either one end or the other of the hypothetical continuum. One of the factors in my life that have helped determine my gender identity is; by nature I am a female because I have the sexual reproduction system of a female. That is not what makes me a female though. What makes me a female is how I carry myself in everyday life. I am secure in my womanhood, and have never felt like I should have been a male instead. I like to dress like a woman, talk like a woman, and even use manners that are considered “womanly”.
I chose to keep long, pretty, unpolished fingernails, and I wear make-up on special occasions, but since I do not wear it all the time that does not make me masculine. I was raised in an environment that my parents, teachers, and any other important figures in my life treated me like a female; therefore, I act like a typical societal female. I even grew up with toys that were specifically designed for female use like; dolls and make-up, and cooking toys. The masculine and feminine traits that I attribute to myself using the hypothetical continuum are kind of split in some ways.
I can identify with both points of view regarding females and males. My mother thought it best to teach me things that most of the time need a man. She taught me these “manly” activities because she believes that women should be independent and never need a man for anything. Women are just as good as men (she used to tell me), and women should never be made to feel differently on the subject. I whole-heartedly agree. In conclusion, gender identity and gender roles can cause some conflicts in some people within their daily lives.
These disputes can be lessened when the individual is able to develop a secure masculine or feminine gender identity about how they perceive themselves. There are rites of passages that help young female into womanhood, or a young male into manhood, depending on the culture around you as to what the rite of passage may include. Once an individual has figured out what identifies them as either masculine or feminine, they will be able to progress their own positive feelings about masculinity and femininity.
Courtney from Study Moose
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